It’s my observation that throughout our lives we are given one opportunity after another to love beyond what we thought we could love. As children, these opportunities typically are handled masterfully. Early on we bounce back from challenging life situations with relative ease, but of course, the more challenges we experience, the less resilient we become – unless someone lovingly teaches us how to experience them.
Once we have layered our beliefs and assumptions about past experiences into our adult perceptions of “should” and “shouldn’t,” we typically find it a little more challenging to live and let live. Especially when what someone is living is seen as a direct opposition to our personal identity.
I’ll give the example of a client of mine who was the daughter of very religious parents. In fact, her father was a pastor in their church. This beautiful young woman was no longer married when she recounted her story to me. Since divorce was not a part of her parents’ belief system, when she told them she was getting a divorce, they distanced themselves and withheld their love from her. She didn’t know it then, but that was the first opportunity she unconsciously offered them to love beyond what they had ever loved.
Naturally, my client was saddened by the loss, but being without their expectations proved to be unexpectedly beneficial as it gave her the opportunity to explore her own beliefs and expression of Self more fully.
In time, her parents came back into her life, although not as fully as they had been when she was living according to their perceptions of what was okay to love. My client then unwittingly offered her parents yet another and somewhat deeper opportunity to love beyond what they had loved before. During her self–exploration, she had begun a same-sex relationship. Since this did not fit into their concept of okay either, her parents once again withdrew themselves and their love.
Though saddened, it did give my client further opportunity to explore her life and choices. As part of this exploration, she decided she wanted to have a child with her new partner. However, once she was pregnant, her partner decided that she did not want to be a parent and left the relationship. Unable to forgive her partner for her choice, and unable to reach out to her parents for fear of being rejected again, my client found herself in the position of being unable to love beyond what she thought she could love.
She did not share the news of her pregnancy with her parents until her father became ill. Visiting him at the hospital, she learned that his illness could cause harm to her unborn child, and hence was forced to tell her parents that she was with child and without her partner.
This time, her mother was finally able to accept the opportunity to open to love; her life experience and the illness of her husband had shed a different light on what was important and thus she could support her daughter with her newly opened heart! In this story the mother had been the love that she is all along, she had just been unable to find it under all her conditioning of perceived rights and wrongs.
I am not picking on parents here, as this story could just as easily represent anyone’s inability to embrace or be open to another in the face of perceived differences. What I have noticed is that the degree to which we can be open and loving to another’s expressions of Self is the degree to which the various aspects of ourselves have been loved and integrated back into wholeness.
We all know that we see what we see with. So the aspects that we are unable to love or harshly judge in another are the same parts of ourselves for which we have not yet been able to find compassion.
Our entire life experience grants us many chances to love beyond what we thought we could love. Every one of these opportunities offers us the possibility to heal an unhealed aspect of our selves.
Humanity has never had such amazing opportunities to heal the unhealed aspects of self and to grow beyond our separations as we are being offered right now. To embrace these opportunities benefits us personally and collectively. Each aspect of humanity is a part of ourselves; the parts we embrace or push against all make up the beautiful tapestry of who we are at a personal level. It’s simply time to consciously work toward expressing love and compassion for all aspects of the whole. As we move internally from division to unity, we do so as a collective.
Take every opportunity that you are given to love beyond what you thought you could love before. See someone else’s point of view even though you may not choose to adopt it as your own. Be curious about another’s choices from a place of neutrality.
Now, more than ever, the very things that you say “no” to¾as in “I can love anything but that”¾ are the very things you are now being asked to embrace wholeheartedly! Indeed, this may be the very aspect that makes you whole. There are no missing parts or parts that can be cast away if we are to be whole; there are only aspects that have yet to be loved!